Trip Start Apr 11, 2008
Trip End Jul 03, 2008

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Where I stayed
Flemings Hotel Schwabing

Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Friday, May 2, 2008

On May 2nd, I took a day trip from Munich down to Salzburg, Austria.  It was about a 2 hour ride on the fast train, although apparently, there was some construction on the train tracks, so we had to change trains one time when normally it would be a straight shot.  But, it was still pretty effortless with our American guide, Mike. 

Salzburg is not only the birthplace of Mozart, but even more importantly, it was where one of my favorite movies, "The Sound of Music" was filmed.  We got to see many of the high points from the movie as well as visit the convent where the real Maria Von Trapp was a novice (although this was not where the movie was filmed).  Salzburg is, simply stated, beautiful.  With the Swiss Alps all around us, little shops, cafes and even designer stores (John - you'd love it) around every corner, I highly recommend anyone who is in that vicinity to stop there.  Our guide, Mike, led us on a walking tour all around Salzburg - which is actually rather small, and easy to do in a day.  There are several museums that were originally homes where Mozart lived, but many of them were destroyed during WWII so what you see today is either a renovation or an artists rendering of what it "probably" looked like during Mozarts time.  So, Mike advised us against those.  But, the beauty of Salzburg is the architecture, and most of all, the churches, cathedral and even (strangely) the cemetery, which is one of the prettiest ones I've ever seen (note the pictures). 

During our visit, the weather was a little odd - it was sunny and probably in the high 60's/low 70's during the majority of our trip, but every once and while, it would get cloudy and pour for around 15 minutes.  Then the clouds would clear and it would be sunny and beautiful again.  But, when it rained, I just popped in one of the little cafes or restaurants (for lunch) and in a few minutes it cleared up. 

Salzburg has an interesting history.  For hundreds of years it was not part of Austria or any country.  It was like the Vatican - run by the Catholic Church.  The Bishop was the King and the palaces were originally built for men of the cloth - so much for a vow of poverty!  I believe this is why the churches and places of faith in Salzburg are so overtly beautiful.  It wasn't part of Austria until much more recent history, and basically the culture is German.  Austrians are no different than people from Munich in their Bavarian sausages, beer for breakfast, and chocolates - which I did enjoy while I was there.  But, Salzburg is like a mini-European metropolis of culture sitting in the middle of the Swiss Alps. 

When we got back to Munich, Mike directed me and a couple of my American friends that I had gotten to know on our tour, to the closest Biergarten - the Augustiner Keller which was just a 10 minute walk from the Haufbanoft (main train station), which was how we ended our day.  A pint (or maybe 2) of beer and dinner served by an old (and somewhat scary) German waitress dressed in liderhosen was the perfect end to a great day.

I'll cover my tour of Munich separately.  Enjoy the pics!  Hope you are all having a happy spring!

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